TAZEWELL, VA – November 20, 2018 — What first started as a customer-client relationship for Amanda Hoops and Amanda Wright, both of Tazewell, turned into a 50-50 business partnership when the two decided to open Bliss on Main, a boutique clothing store in downtown Tazewell.
A $10,000 seed capital grant they recently received from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA) enabled them to expand their clothing line offerings and will also be utilized to cut through a wall in the store space on 145 Main Street to enlarge the interior of the shop.
“VCEDA was pleased to provide the seed capital matching grant funding for Bliss on Main,” said VCEDA Executive Director/ General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “Assisting entrepreneurs in realizing their goals and in the process creating jobs is what the seed capital matching grant program is all about.”
Currently, the business has two full-time employees. They project three full-time employees and two part-time employees within two years.
“I used to do an in-house type boutique and Amanda Wright was always one of my good customers,” Hoops recalls about how the idea to open Bliss on Main was born. The space on Main Street became available, the rent was affordable and Hoops says the rest is pretty much history.
They worked with Margie Douglass at the Small Business Development Center located at Southwest Virginia Community College to prepare their business plan and application to VCEDA for the seed capital grant when they learned of the program and in the meantime, began work to renovate the space and to decorate it, filling it with clothing and other accessories, opening the doors to the store November 25, 2017.
“There’s a need for quality affordable clothing and that’s what we offer at Bliss on Main,” Wright says. “The VCEDA grant is enabling us to expand our line of clothing to bring in additional brands to appeal to a wide array of both local customers and to those visiting in our area.”
The store also promotes its own line of t-shirts which they make in-house and ship all over the country, Hoops says. The shirt gives the tee-shirt reader the correct pronunciation of Appalachia: “app-uh-latch-uh.”
“The shirts have been a big success,” Wright adds.
The boutique has clothing for petites to 3XL and carries Gretchen Scott and Mud Pie clothing as two of its major brands.
A sign at the front door notes the store’s basic philosophy which is: “Life Isn’t Perfect, But Your Outfit Can Be.”
In addition to clothing, the store also offers jewelry and other accessories, including locally handmade earrings, made in Tazewell by Lisa Pruett under the LHP Designs logo. Another accessory line the store has are Headbands for Hope. For every headband sold, another is donated to a childhood cancer patient. The store has also participated in a canned food drive being held by their neighbors across the street at Main Street United Methodist Church.
Working together with the other businesses on Tazewell’s Main Street, Hoops and Wright agree is important to the success of not only Bliss on Main, but to each of the businesses located there.
“It’s about revitalizing the Main Street area and bringing business back to town,” Hoops says. “It’s kind of a return to the past where people went to the downtown areas and could shop, grab a bite to eat and meet friends and family.”
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With Saturday, November 24 recognized as Small Business Saturday, the store will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with special deals including a buy one, get one at a percentage off sale, and special giveaways as well, in part to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the store opening.
More about the store may be found on the Bliss on Main Facebook and Instagram pages.
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Southwest Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Southwest Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education, emerging technologies, and entrepreneurship. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vaceda.org or www.e-Region.org.
About the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority Seed Capital Matching Grant Fund: VCEDA region for-profit businesses one year and under with less than 10 full-time employees are eligible to apply for dollar-for-dollar matching grants up to $10,000 from the VCEDA Seed Capital Matching Fund. Applicants work with the Small Business Development Centers at Mountain Empire and Southwest Virginia community colleges to prepare the applications to VCEDA that include detailed business and financial plans. Businesses must be located in or plan to operate in the VCEDA region in southwestern Virginia that includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton.